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Tipsheet

One County Just Unanimously Approved Nixing a Citizenship Requirement for Government Jobs

AP Photo/David Goldman)

Individuals seeking government positions in Los Angeles County will no longer be required to be citizens of the United States after the Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to do away with the requirement, which Supervisor Sheila Kuehl called "out-of-date."

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Exceptions to the new policy include jobs where U.S. citizenship is required by state and federal law.

“Los Angeles County is a community of immigrants from each corner of the world,” said Chair Hilda Solis, who authored the motion. “And while our County-government workforce reflects the community it represents, there is room for improvement. This motion seeks to make clear that the County, as one of the largest employers in the region, strives to be an inclusive and diverse workforce, and is committed to not excluding nor allowing citizenship to be a barrier to employment.”

Solis noted that in 2018, there were an estimated 880,000 non-U.S. citizens in LA County, but County employment barriers remained.

“For example, during its annual recruitment cycles to fill vacant entry-level deputy public defender positions, the Public Defender receives applications from otherwise qualified non-U.S. citizens who, although permitted to practice law in California, are disqualified from the examination process due to the Public Defender’s legacy citizenship requirement,” she said. 

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On June 22, 2021, the Board of Supervisors asked the Office of the County Counsel and the Department of Human Resources to determine if waiving any citizenship requirement for board-appointed county officers or department heads was legal.

The staff reported that the board can waive citizenship requirements for its workforce unless state or federal law explicitly imposes a requirement. (Los Angeles Daily News)

The motion states that the new policy “ensures that applicants for employment are fairly and equitably considered, without regard to national origin, citizenship or other non-merit factors that are not substantially related to successful performance of the duties of the position.”

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